Last-Minute Slider Nets Drellos “Topless” Win at Devil’s Bowl Speedway
Roberts charges for Limited Sportsman checkers
WEST HAVEN, Vt. – Demetrios Drellos continued his hot start to the dirt track racing summer at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Saturday, July 19, netting his fourth Sportsman Modified victory in the first eight weeks of the 2021 campaign. The Queensbury, N.Y., driver won the annual Father’s Day Weekend “Topless” Special and was joined in victory lane throughout the evening by Evan Roberts, Mark Norris, Chris Sumner, and Ray Hanson.
With the roofs taken off the cars in the two open-wheel Modified divisions for a different once-a-year look and feel, Drellos was the star of the headline Sportsman Modified class. The 30-lap race was well-driven with only two caution periods slowing the pace. Justin Stone led the first 11 circuits until Adam Pierson took over after the first restart, and Pierson was up front and outlasted the challengers at the final restart at lap 21.
It appeared that Pierson was ready to end a tough stretch of luck with his first win of the season, but Drellos came charging from 21st starting position to reach Pierson with less than five laps left. The duo raced each other hard and clean on the slick track surface, with each trying both the top and bottom grooves, but Drellos pulled off a breathtaking slide-job move coming to the white flag to steal the lead and drive away in the final half-mile.
Pierson’s runner-up finish was still his best result of the year. Vince Quenneville came from 15th to finish third, with Stone hanging around for fourth place. Elmo Reckner completed the top five after starting 16th. Rookie Johnny Bruno was sixth ahead of Mike Fisher, Jimmy Ryan, Justin Comes, and Alex Bell.
Qualifying heats were won Stone, Brent Warren, and Pierson; Billy Lussier took the consolation race. Unofficially, Quenneville and Drellos are locked in a tie in the championship point standings through the first nine feature races, with 382 points apiece. Reckner sits third at 325, followed by Comes (314), and a tie for fifth place between Don Mattison and Tanner Siemons (291 each).
Fifteen-year-old Evan Roberts notched his first win of the season in the 25-lap “topless” race for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman division; the Fletcher, Vt., racer and his father, Joey, have combined to win four topless races at Devil’s Bowl in the last six seasons. A season-high eight caution periods slowed the Limited Sportsman feature, and Roberts picked his way through both the carnage and the traffic to make a three-wide move for the lead at lap 21.
That pass was negated by a yellow flag, though, forcing Roberts to try it again. He was finally successful with two circuits left, sweeping past Anthony Ryan and Craig Wholey for the lead and the win. Wholey and Ryan battled up front for almost the entire race, and Wholey’s runner-up showing was a career-best result. Ryan finished third ahead of Gary English and Melvin Pierson.
The top 10 was rounded out by Joe Venditti, Justin Lilly, Troy Audet, Austin Comes, and Josh LeClaire. Wholey, English, and Pierson won the heats, while Kyle Huntington took the consi and Cody O’Brien scored in the B-Main. Roberts took a chunk out of Comes’ point lead, but still trails Comes by 32 markers, 369-337. John Gosselin (300) is third, followed closely by Audet (296), Ryan (293), and Pierson (291).
Benson, Vt.’s Mark Norris stood in victory lane for the first time in two years after a rough, 20-lap feature for the Super Stock class. Ten of the 12 drivers in the race were involved in at least one spin or accident – including Norris – but he recovered and then held off the late-charging Chris Murray – who spun twice – for the win.
Andrew FitzGerald finished third ahead of Paul Braymer and Kevin Elliott. The son-and-father pair of Josh and Mike Bussino took sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by Tony Salerno, Kyle Botala, and Ronnie Alger. Murray has a 20-point lead on Braymer, 391-371.
The Summit Up Construction Mini Stocks continue to grow in numbers, but the 30-car field produced a quality, 15-lap race. Ripton, Vt.’s Chris Sumner scored his third win of the season, with the Greg Zindler scored as the official runner-up after apparent second-place driver Clemmy Bell’s car failed to meet the minimum weight requirement in post-race inspection.
Tim Simonds was third in a backup car borrowed from his son, Kurt, T.J. Knight came from 28th to finish fourth, and Craig Kirby was fifth. Griff Mahoney led the next five finishers, followed in order by Ben Huestis, Willie Rice, Jakobee Alger, and Lynn Denton. Qualifying heats were won by Derrick Counter, Daryl Gebo, and Jake Barrows. Sumner leads Kirby by 24 points, 357-333.
Ray Hanson continued to impress in the Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint division, streaking to his sixth win in eight races. The Orwell, Vt., driver was running in fourth place at the halfway mark with little chance to gain positions when the leaders encountered a slower lapped car and scrambled; Hanson made a daring four-wide pass on the outside to fly past them all and ran away for the victory.
Rookie Vern Woordard inherited the runner-up finish after original second-place driver Kamden Duffy’s car failed the weight test. John McPhee Jr. finished third for his best run in two years. Kaidin White and John Smith were next in line, ahead of Kevin Smith, Gage Provencher, Kris Severance, Lynn Sumner, and Tommy Kasuba. Heats were won by Hanson and Duffy. The disqualification of Duffy opens Hanson’s point lead up to 44 markers, with White now holding down the second spot (444-381), and Duffy third at 365.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway returns to action on Saturday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. as Brown’s Quarried Slate and Brown’s Orchard & Farm Stand present the action. All five weekly classes will be on the card.
Grandstand admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under). Tickets will be available online at https://buytickets.at/devilsbowlspeedway and at the speedway on race day. Infield drive-in parking will be $20 for adults and free for kids, with tickets available at the speedway; infield parking is open from 5:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, Vt., four miles north of U.S. Route 4, Exit 2, and just 20 minutes from Rutland, Vt. For more information, visit www.DevilsBowlSpeedwayVT.com or call (802) 265-3112. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at facebook.com/DevilsBowlSpeedway, and on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl hashtag.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, Vt.
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Sportsman Modified Feature (30 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (21) Demetrios Drellos, Queensbury, N.Y.
2. (5) Adam Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
3. (15) Vince Quenneville, Brandon, Vt.
4. (1) Justin Stone, Middlebury, Vt.
5. (16) Elmo Reckner, Ballston Lake, N.Y.
6. (11) # Johnny Bruno, Castleton, Vt.
7. (3) Mike Fisher, Castleton, Vt.
8. (14) Jimmy Ryan, Shoreham, Vt.
9. (20) Justin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
10. (8) Alex Bell, Cambridge, N.Y.
11. (23) Don Mattison, Wells, Vt.
12. (18) Tanner Siemons, Orford, N.H.
13. (9) Marty Kelly III, North Bennington, Vt.
14. (22) Billy Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
15. (10) Frank Hoard III, Manchester Center, Vt.
16. (7) Brian Whittemore, Pittsford, Vt.
17. (17) Joey Scarborough, Brandon, Vt.
18. (19) Tim LaDuc, Orwell, Vt.
19. (12) Mike Palmer, Salisbury, Vt.
20. (6) Adam Piper, Leicester, Vt.
21. (2) Brent Warren, Salisbury, Vt.
22. (24) Gene Pierson Jr., East Corinth, Vt.
23. (25) # Shawn McPhee, Rutland, Vt.
24. (13) # Anthony Warren, Shoreham, Vt.
25. (26) Josh Masterson, Bristol, Vt.
26. (4) Jason Bruno, Morrisonville, N.Y.
Lap Leaders: Justin Stone, 1-11; Adam Pierson, 12-28; Demetrios Drellos, 29-30. (2 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (2): Laps 11, 21.
Heat Winners: Justin Stone, Brent Warren, Adam Pierson
Consi Winner: Billy Lussier
O’Reilly Auto Parts Limited Sportsman Feature (25 laps)
1. (13) Evan Roberts, Fletcher, Vt.
2. (3) Craig Wholey, Bolton Landing, N.Y.
3. (6) Anthony Ryan, Benson, Vt.
4. (10) Gary English, Salisbury, Vt.
5. (8) Melvin Pierson, East Corinth, Vt.
6. (12) Joe Venditti, Scotia, N.Y.
7. (5) Justin Lilly, Castleton, Vt.
8. (17) Troy Audet, Bridport, Vt.
9. (16) Austin Comes, Middlebury, Vt.
10. (18) Josh LeClaire, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
11. (2) Dakota Green, Cambridge, N.Y.
12. (11) John Gosselin, Shoreham, Vt.
13. (22) Randy Ryan, Orwell, Vt.
14. (20) Bill Duprey, Hydeville, Vt.
15. (23) Timmy Aldrighetti, Bethel, Vt.
16. (21) Alex Layn, New Haven, Vt.
17. (14) Beau Reeves, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
18. (15) Steve Pope, Shoreham, Vt.
19. (19) Kyle Huntington, Bradford, Vt.
20. (7) Scott FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
21. (4) A.J. Munger, Benson, Vt.
22. (9) Bob Kilburn, Fair Haven, Vt.
23. (24) Cody O’Brien, Springfield, Vt.
24. (1) Russ Farr, Granville, N.Y.
Did Not Qualify (10 drivers): Bryon Linendoll, West Pawlet, Vt.; Wesley Sutliff, South Glens Falls, N.Y.; Samantha Mulready, Cambridge, N.Y.; Bryan Bigue, North Haverhill, N.H.; Katrina Bean, Benson, Vt.; William Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.; Josh Nelson, Bristol, Vt.; Jason Quenneville, Quechee, Vt.; Mike McGinn, Elizabethtown, N.Y.; Matt Jordan, Cambridge, N.Y.
Lap Leaders: Russ Farr, pole; Craig Wholey, 1-15; Anthony Ryan, 16-21; Wholey, 22; Evan Roberts, 23-25. (4 lead changes among 4 drivers)
Cautions (8): Laps 3, 4, 11, 11, 15, 16, 21, 23.
Heat Winners: Craig Wholey, Gary English, Melvin Pierson
Consi Winner: Kyle Huntington
B-Main Winner: Cody O’Brien
Super Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (2) Mark Norris, Benson, Vt.
2. (8) Chris Murray, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (9) Andrew FitzGerald, West Rutland, Vt.
4. (7) Paul Braymer, Granville, N.Y.
5. (5) Kevin Elliott, Rutland, Vt.
6. (4) Josh Bussino, Fair Haven, Vt.
7. (11) Mike Bussino, Mount Holly, Vt.
8. (12) Tony Salerno, Mineville, N.Y.
9. (10) Kyle Botala, Grand Isle, Vt. (substitute for Andy Botala)
10. (1) Ronnie Alger, Orwell, Vt.
11. (6) # Chuck Bradford, Addison, Vt.
12. (3) # Chris Brown, Shrewsbury, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Ronnie Alger, pole; Mark Norris, 1-2; Chris Murray, 3-5; Norris, 6-20. (3 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Cautions (7): Laps 2, 2, 2, 3, 8, 13, 18.
Heat Winners: n/a
Summit Up Construction Mini Stock Feature (20 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (6) Chris Sumner, Ripton, Vt.
2. (15) Greg Zindler, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
3. (8) Tim Simonds, North Clarendon, Vt.
4. (28) T.J. Knight, Wells, Vt.
5. (9) Craig Kirby, St. Albans, Vt.
6. (16) Griff Mahoney, Bristol, Vt.
7. (30) Ben Huestis, Bridport, Vt. (substitute for Brian Blake)
8. (4) Willie Rice, Poultney, Vt.
9. (13) # Jakobee Alger, Orwell, Vt.
10. (7) Lynn Denton, Milton, Vt.
11. (26) # Chase Allen, Fair Haven, Vt.
12. (27) # Scott Chandler, Pittsford, Vt.
13. (29) # Austin McKirryher, Proctor, Vt.
14. (21) Troy Morin, Keeseville, N.Y.
15. (18) Tom Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
16. (5) Joe Malzac, East Middlebury, Vt.
17. (17) Chris Lussier, Fair Haven, Vt.
18. (3) Derrick Counter, Leicester, Vt.
19. (12) Jake Barrows, Middlebury, Vt.
20. (1) Mary Gardner, Middle Granville, N.Y.
21. (19) Freddy Burch, Middle Granville, N.Y.
22. (24) # Hunter Clark, Salisbury, Vt.
23. (2) # Adam Mahoney, Rutland, Vt.
24. (22) # Jake Mallory, Granville, N.Y.
25. (25) Kaydan Rice, Poultney, Vt.
26. (23) Brittany Ladd, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
27. (14) Josh Ostertag, Deering, N.H.
28. (11) # Daryl Gebo, Orwell, Vt.
29. (20) # Jason Kerr, Shoreham, Vt.
Disqualified: (10) Clemmy Bell, Peru, N.Y. (minimum weight)
Lap Leaders: Mary Gardner, pole; Chris Sumner, 1-15. (1 lead change among 2 drivers)
Cautions (4): Laps 1, 6, 7, 12.
Heat Winners: Derrick Counter, Daryl Gebo, Jake Barrows
Friend Construction 500cc Mini Sprint Feature (15 laps)
# – denotes rookie
1. (9) Ray Hanson, Orwell, Vt.
2. (6) # Vern Woodard, Fair Haven, Vt.
3. (2) John McPhee Jr., Rutland, Vt.
4. (5) Kaidin White, Monkton, Vt.
5. (7) John Smith, Poultney, Vt.
6. (3) Kevin Smith, Brandon, Vt.
7. (4) # Gage Provencher, Bridport, Vt.
8. (1) # Kris Severance, Fair Haven, Vt.
9. (12) # Lynn Sumner, Fair Haven, Vt.
10. (11) # Tommy Kasuba, Castleton, Vt.
11. (10) # Kyle Bruno, Pittsford, Vt.
Disqualified: (8) Kamden Duffy, Richmond, N.H. (minimum weight)
Did Not Start (1 driver): # Eric Paige, Shoreham, Vt.
Lap Leaders: Kris Severance, pole; John McPhee Jr., 1-7; Ray Hanson, 8-15. (2 lead change among 3 drivers)
Heat Winners: Ray Hanson, Kamden Duffy